Post Election 2016

I had to go home from work yesterday because I started crying during Hillary’s (and then Obama’s) speech. In a government office where CNN is constantly on, I couldn’t escape it. I cried for my sister, who (due to pre-exisiting conditions) will probably lose her health care in the coming months, if Obamacare is repealed. My boyfriend (a mechanic turned student) would also lose his.  Like many Millenial couples, we’re not married so he can’t be added to my health plan.
I know many, many people in our country are unhappy with the state of their lives. We all had to face harsh realities in the past 8 years. But the key word was REALITY: the USA had a mess to clean up, serious economic, environmental and social issues we had to address. And we were, but the growing pains were VERY apparent. I understand that Obama was asking A LOT of from a country that was entrenched in the way things were.
But I really believe this country was moving forward. Thousands of people finally were able to get insurance. Love was no longer being discriminated against, and my own sister (plus many other friends) was able to finally get married to her partner. We had a president who was actually addressing the fact that our environment was collapsing, and for our kids to literally have a viable PLACE TO LIVE in the future, a major overhaul of the current dependence on fossil fuel was not only necessary but MANDATORY.
And yes, these things changes were extremely difficult for a lot of people. Jobs based on oil, coal and gas were going away, insurance premiums were going up, and people were suffering the brunt of that. I know this. I’m not ignoring this. I see my friends struggling with this everyday. I wish insurance companies and oil corporations had stepped up to offer a cushion for their employees, giving them incentives for being healthy, and ways to transition to green energy careers.  But they weren’t willing to take the financial hit the government was forced to hand out, and it ended up falling on the people. I don’t blame the government for trying to make us healthier and our environment cleaner. These are things that will benefit us in the longer run. But for half of our country, the immediacy of these decisions felt like an assault on their very livelihood. It was like a punch in the gut, which triggered a lot of anger.
For me, when faced with this reality, I had to ask myself “What’s more important? My personal finances or the viability of our planet? My bills, or a very sick person’s health?”  I suppose it all comes down to “me vs. them.” Are we willing to sacrifice parts of our lives in order for others to have a better one? I think that those 2 schools of thought are really the driving force behind what happened during this election. Are we able to look beyond our own struggles, or is the pain, loss, anger and hardship too much for us to bear? I think that when we are in a state of panic over the thought of eviction, bankruptcy, default and poverty (of our children!) we are unable to see beyond those psychological blinders. And as many Trump supporters might say “Why should we?”
But some of us really believe that if we pay our due then the government will return the favor. I am evidence of that. When the housing market crashed, and the economy was so bad I couldn’t afford my own rent, I moved in with my mom and saved until I could find a place (with government assistance). I relied on Head Start (a government funded child care), I lived off food stamps and did what I could (including donating my own DNA to a childless couple) to finally get where I could support myself. It was a combination of hard work, luck (or the planets :P), government help and support from family and friends. I used government programs the way they were intended. I watched my mother in her job as a Social Worker, and saw how our taxes went to work to help people. I saw the struggles, the defeats, the cheaters, but also the success stories (me).
 
I am not an island. I would not be living a reasonably comfortable life without the help of my family and friends and YES the GOVERNMENT. As a head of household and primary breadwinner, I know I cannot do it alone. I too have a family relying on me to support them. I have bills to pay like everyone else. I think both sides of the divide can understand this!  However, I do not blame my struggles on minorities or “illegals taking our jobs” or those who abuse the system. I don’t blame Obama for having to face almost a decade of problems to fix and making some of the most difficult decisions a president can make.
I don’t care that if taxes are high if that means a better education, health care and community resources for our kids. Some people do. I think racism, sexism, classism, and bigotry are behind a great many American’s decision making, but I know that good people voted for Trump too. People who’s lives were thrown into total chaos because of the changes Obama was making. I feel for all who suffered.
But I’m scared. I see people unwilling to be understanding and compassionate. The IDGAF attitude that elected Trump wanted to set a bomb off in our country’s face. OK, but how are we going to deal with the fallout? Who’s going to clean up (if possible) the mess? I feel like lines will be drawn, and innocent people like our children will suffer. There doesn’t need to be a war, but it’s almost as if people would rather see our country become an episode of the Walking Dead than continue the way it was going. And that scares the shit out of me.

In the dark

I’m back. Its late. I have all the lights off. I really don’t want to be alone right now. I don’t wanna be a single mom right now. I really don’t wanna write too much because I know my mom reads my blog now and I don’t want her to worry.

There were 15 messages on my phone when I finally was able to turn it back on. I can’t bring myself to listen to them. I’m scared to. I heard the first few before I left and I can only imagine what type of rage message #15 will express.

Rooferman’s truck was pulling out of my driveway when I got home. Why? What was he doing at my house? Will he try to come back?  Will he bring the cops? Will he try to take LB?

All I know is that he considers the act of taking LB out of town for 5 days was a direct violation of his parenting time. Maybe he thinks since I just up and left without his permission that he has the right to take our daughter without my permission. I’m scared he’s gonna do something crazy and I will be left screaming in a frozen parking lot with empty hands.

I hate this. I hate its the weekend and I can’t talk to a lawyer. I hate that he knows where I live. I hate that we have no official document saying I have custody of our child (other than child support papers). I hate that we can’t even see the new judge till February. I hate that I’ve tried everything I can think of to make some sort of respectable relationship with the father of my child and I’ve failed. I hate that this man has managed to make me feel terrified, confused and powerless once again. I hate being afraid in my own home.

And of course, just when my life is at its most unstable….I meet a guy. My first single dad. A guy who’s coming over to sit with me in my dark house for a little while because I’m scared.

The waters of my life are never tepid.

Cowardice

Rooferman filed a motion to recuse the judge who is presiding over our case. I figured this would happen, so its really not that surprising. It just shows what a dickless coward he is. Its kind of insulting to the Judge as well, since basically Rooferman is telling him he doesn’t think he can do his job. Does he think just because our Judge sent him to prison more than 8 years ago he will rule in my favor?  Does he think that because I was at our Judge’s daughter’s wedding, he is just going to hand me a custody order and a cookie?

Sure, that is one of my personal fantasies, but come on! This is reality. Give the man a little more credit.

So our Judge, being a kind and just human being, will wholeheartedly refer us to another division.  He’s already said that if we can’t come to an agreement by our next court date, he will send us to another judge anyway. Apparently Rooferman didn’t remember that. He also didn’t remember how to spell our Judge’s name.

Somehow I’m not intimidated. Obviously, he’s the one who’s scared.

P.S. For $5 you can download a person’s entire criminal history at this website. After reading Rooferman’s,  I’m thinking this may become a prerequisite for anyone I date. Oh and that “improper driving” ticket he got? Apparently it was “Improper Mountain Driving”, which for all you flatlanders, means he is of those idiots who tries to drive up the side of a cliff, gets stuck, and results in the County Sheriff having to winch him off the cryptobiotic soil.

Steady

Rooferman tried to weasel me out of more time last night. He called 30 minutes before I was to pick up LB, saying they were at a restaurant and they just barely got their food, so it would be really nice if we could keep her a little longer.  Just barely? It was 7:00 pm. I could see another long night ahead of me.

The Assclown was making me into the mean mommy again, stealing the poor child away from the good daddy. I would swoop in like a vulture and pry the food out of our cherub’s mouth, dragging her away to the dungeon of single mommyhood. 

I could fabricate every vindictive idea in my mind as to why he waited till the END of his visitation to take his family out to dinner, but I’m making an honest attempt to erradicate my life of anger and spitefulness. I’m trying NOT to buy into the war fantasy I’ve so adeptly inserted into my subconscious.

I didn’t give him a yes or no answer. I told him I would call him when I was on my way to the restaurant, and he could meet me outside. I let myself watch an extra 10 minutes of the Jets/Patriots game and headed into town. 5 minutes later, I was waiting outside of Appplebee’s. LB emerged with the whole family, her face smeared in chocolate.

Blondie’s offspring ran right up to me and shouted gleefully, “LB ate LOTS of ice cream!”

Great. No sleep for me tonight.

I handed Rooferman the schedule for the Love & Logic parenting class we are required to take next week. Its actually a 5-week session, but I doubt he will keep showing up. He told me he had to go back to court next week, so his schedule was a little tight. I told him I would see him next Tuesday. I received the look of death from Blondie (oh right, its parent/teacher conference night…*snicker).

LB replayed her Tuesday routine, walking her feet up the wall as I tried to tuck her in. She asked met to sing her a lullaby, and proceeded to drown me out, singing the same lyrics at maximum volume. I finally sat down at 10:00 pm to update my Netflix queue. Behind me, I could hear the feetsie pajamas shuffling up to my chair. LB, wide-eyed and bushy tailed grinned at me.

“Mommy Hanna you get on compoodor? Mommy Hanna you come back? Mommy Hanna you take shower? Mommy Hanna you go nite nite?”

Nothing quite so picturesque as a 2.5-year-old Gemini hopped up on sugar at 10:00 pm with the full moon blaring down on her her rug-rat hair.

And for some reason, It didn’t bother me last night. There was no mommy meltdown. Even as she crawled into bed with me at 4 am. Even as her tiny fist slugged me in the eye around dawn. My heart stayed at a exhausted, yet steady pace.

Intimidation

Thanks to April and SWM, who suggested I actually take the time to investigate the FACTS. I called to check out my case file. No response has been submitted. No parenting class has been completed on his part. He hasn’t petitioned for custody and still hasn’t made any attempts to see LB or call. He may threaten to take custody from me, and I may be back in court down the road, but I’m done with the intimidation. His poor mother has been a victim of his rage, his lies and his manipulation since he was a cow-macing, car-wrecking, meth-smoking, pre-pubescent youth.

He’s in his own bubble, remember? The negative vibes don’t affect me. I’m sure Ruby is worried about me. I’m sure the anger she sees in her son triggers a very primal level of fear, except now the fear involves 2 other people: myself and her beloved granddaughter. She told me herself,  “I love my son, but I’m not playing games anymore.”

I’ve decided if my court date goes well, I’m going to be Erin Brockovich for Halloween. If I am brutally rebuffed (as Alicia Silverstone would say in Clueless) I’m going as Dorothy, because I have some really cute red heels.

As for the comment “Why would a colleged-educated girl end up with a deadbeat Roofer?”, there’s been many theories about nature, female hormones, male hormones, the effects of drugs and alcohol, post-college rebellion, penis size and animal atraction (I’m sorry mother if you are reading this). After going to film school and immeshing myself in super-hip, super-egotistical, super-rich, super-intellectual, metrosexuals, I promptly ran in the opposite direction: Into the arms of the most testosterone-crazy, blissfully ignorant, bull-headed, beer-swigging, risk-taking embodiment of Greek God Ares I could find.

You’re right, it wasn’t a very smart descion and I’m suffering the life-long hangover now. There’s been many times where I’ve kicked myself, saying “I’m too smart for this sh**. I never thought I would be dumb enough to let something like this happen.” Se la Vie.

I did get a pretty awesome little person out of the whole deal though. 🙂

Abandonment

Remember this post? Remember how frustrated I was and attempting to be the “tough” mom? Well I finally figured out what was wrong this weekend. My first assumption was the season change, which still could be a factor. I then decided to blame my daycare (of course!) for letting LB sleep 2-3 hours during her nap. Obviously it was affecting her sleep!  On Saturday I tested my hypothesis. I didn’t give her a nap at all. She slept maybe 20-30 minutes in the car ride from Farmington, NM but once again, she was walking up the walls at bedtime.

I was completely at a loss, and REALLY pissy by 10:30 pm that night.

 Then the truth revealed itself.

The nightly bedtime rejection has been happening more and more frequently since this incident. The anxiety level in LB reached maximum velocity on Saturday night. It became obvious that her emergence from the bedroom was not just a silly toddler game. There was geniune concern on her face.  Each time I angrily ushered her back to bed, that concern started morphing into outright fear.

What is was she afraid of? She’s started telling me that there’s “spiders in my bed” and I keep assuring her, “No, spiders live outside, not in your bed.” While strolling through the Halloween section at Target this weekend, she was visibly afraid of the big, hairy, hanging spiders. Maybe she was having spider nightmares and didn’t want to go to sleep?

This was different though. If LB is tired enough, she will eventually pass out, even if she has to throw a minor tantrum first. This time, something wasn’t letting her go to sleep, even though I could clearly see the exhaustion in her eyes. Each time she came out of her room, she asked me to pick her up. At almost 2.5 years old, she rarely asks this anymore. She is Miss Independent.

At this point, the “tough” mommy had failed miserably, and I picked my 26lb child up. Y’all know I’ve been watching a lot of Planet Earth, so immediately I thought of the baby monkeys, clinging to their mama’s chests. That’s what my child was Saturday night: Death Grip Baby Monkey.

As I hugged her and rocked her, she just kept clinging. It was like she had reverted to her 10-month-old self.  So I started saying, “This is how I used to rock you when you were a baby.”

All at once, she let go of my neck, looked me straight in the eye and said, “Mommy, you come back?”

I was shocked. My daughter was afraid to go to sleep because she thought once I left her room, I wasn’t coming back. It totally broke my heart that I had been trying to brush off her feelings as some 2-year-old bedtime power struggle. When I finally stopped  trying to control the situation, the truth came out: she was afraid of abandonment.

So I laid her down, whispering this mantra into her ear until she fell asleep:

Mommy always comes back. I love you. Mommy always comes back.

She slept until morning.

I’ve been focusing so much on how I have to nail this court appearance, that I completely overlooked how all this stress might be affecting my daughter. How Rooferman’s sudden appearance might have had more of an impact than I thought. I’ve been second-guessing LB’s attachment and resilliency, like her dad must not be that important to her. I’m still under the ignorant impression that she’s only 2 and she’s only seen her dad 16 times in the last year and a half, so therefore she must not have bonded to him.

Its obvious how very, very wrong I was.

P.S. I also broke the news to Rooferman’s parents this weekend, that I would be taking him to court for custody. I cried a little bit, because they’ve already been through so much legal crap with him, and I really don’t want to add to that pain. They hugged me, thanked me for telling them and told me they support me completely.  Yeah, I’m lucky as hell they love me and LB so much.

Golden Year = Overcoming fear

Well I did it. I submitted my petition for custody to the courts. The judge is reviewing my case to see if I qualify to have the $212 fee waived. Next its off to serve Rooferman and get the ball rolling. Tomorrow I am sitting in on a custody case, represented by the lawyer who is helping me file Pro Se.

This year is suposed to be my “golden year”. Back in February I wondered if something special were going to happen to me, or if this year was going to be my best year. Maybe deep down I thought some magic force would come down and offer me a plate of happiness. I prayed for 2008 to be a “kinder, gentler year” than 2007. How Pisces of me.

I’m half way through my golden year now, and it hasn’t been easy. Nothing has been gift wrapped and handed to me. 2008 has been brutal in many ways, challenging me and testing my role as a momworkerdaughter, and a basic member of humanity. It has pushed me to be a stronger, smarter and more resilient person. This year has given me pride, courage and faith.

This year, my golden year, I have begun to overcome fear. I have started to love myself. I have taken the power back from those who have used it against me. I have found self-worth. 

I couldn’t ask for a better birthday present.